The Internet of Art Things

The Internet of Art Things, or simply artThings, is an infrastructure for creating connected digital artworks. It allows artworks that use micro-controllers, computers, or web browsers to exchange data and to respond to sensors. artThings makes use of MQTT, a lightweight and flexible messaging system.

artThings is essentially two things: 1) a standard hierarchical message topic, for routing messages between artworks; and 2) standard data formats to enable messages to be understood by receiving artworks. In principle, these standards could be used with any network service, but MQTT was chosen because it can be used on a wide range of platforms and is robust, even on slow networks.

artThings Devices

One goal of artThings is to make a wide a range of connected sensors and basic interactive devices free for anyone to make. Prototype devices such as environment monitors, LED lighting units, motion cameras and more have already been produced. These make use of microcontrollers, such as the Wemos D1, the Raspberry Pi single-board-computer, off-the-shelf sensor chips and 3D printed cases. Instructions for making these devices will be made available for download on this website during 2021 as part of my Arts Council supported Light and Sound Systems project.

artThings Browser Experiments

pixelThing and Snowflake Wall use artThings technology to exchange messages between a mobile phone and a desktop browser window. pixelThing was shown on the big screen at De Montfort University in 2019 and Snowflake Wall on the screen in Leicester city centre over Xmas 2020.


  • Share pixel graphics via artThings.

Showflake Wall

  • Share snowflake images via artThings.